It's well known that insurance policies tend to be rife with exclusions, and travel insurance is certainly no exception to the rule. In a worst case scenario, holiday makers who haven't properly checked the details of their insurance can be left stranded in a foreign country with little to no access to money.


Read on to find out ten of the most common travel insurance pitfalls that could leave you'd thought out your desert island items more carefully.


Know Your Excess

This is the amount your insurer expects you to fork out towards the cost of your claim, and is not always as straightforward as it seems. Some insurers will charge excess per claim, whereas others may charge per section of the policy, which can quickly add up.


Your Health

As with health insurance, pre-existing health conditions are one of the most common reasons for travel insurance claims to be turned down. This not only applies to pre-existing conditions, but also to issues that have been discussed with your doctor before buying the insurance, but have yet to be formally diagnosed.


The Health of Others

Sometimes, it is not only your own pre-existing medical condition that can affect insurance claims, but those of others who intend to travel with you. In the event of a cancellation due to the ill-health of a family member or business colleague, your insurer may refuse to honor any claims you make. It is always best to inform your insurance company of any fellow travellers' conditions that may lead to a cancellation or curtailment of your policy.



It may seem reasonable for insurers to invalidate a policy in the event of your own suicide, but that of others that directly leads to cancelling your own policy is often included in the small print. Claims relating to suicide or attempted suicide will often be rejected.


Have You Started Your Policy in Time?

As most people arrange for their policy to begin on the first day of their holiday, having to cancel between buying the insurance and the time it begins can often be a problem. Although it may cost a little more to begin the policy on the day that you buy it, the added cost could be cheaper than losing out in the event of an unexpected cancellation.


Keep an Eye on Your Mileage

If travelling within your home country, ensure that you check with your insurer that you are travelling far enough away. This may sound strange, but most insurance companies have their own definition of what sort of distance away from your home counts as a holiday, as well as the time spent away. Usually, any vacation less than 25 miles and 2 nights would not be sufficient to be covered by travel insurance.


Hazardous Activities/Extreme Sports

It is fairly common for most insurers to exclude participation in various activities where there is an increased likelihood of personal injury or death. This covers a wide range of activities such as skiing, snowboarding, rock climbing, and the like. More often that not, extra insurance is available as an add-on, or you can take out a specialist policy to cover these sports.


Take Theft or Loss Seriously

If you don't contact police to report a theft, or contact your insurer with a specified time-frame, your claim will almost certainly be rejected. Follow though with the instructions provided by your insurer in the event of loss or theft as soon as possible. Many people wait until they get home to take action, and these are the people who have their claims turned down. However, a certain amount of common sense is expected on your part – for example, leaving your phone at the table while you go to buy a drink is definitely not considered as taking reasonable care, and such actions could well and truly leave you out of pocket.


Take it Easy on the Alcohol

Loss or personal injury directly or indirectly due to excessive alcohol consumption can completely invalidate your policy, depending on who you take your insurance out with. While some companies may be more lenient regarding alcohol related claims, others will be much more strict. As a lot of people consume more alcohol while on holiday than they usually would, this is definitely something worth checking out with your insurer.


Beware The Danger Zones

Simply put, avoid visiting any country that has been deemed a danger zone. If in doubt, contact your insurer, or check out your government’s website for guidance. Ideally, do both. There are four nations in particular that most insurers won't provide cover for: Afghanistan, Cuba, Liberia, and Sudan.


Having taken in this advice, you will now be better prepared in the event of a claim made while on holiday. So remember, read all the small print carefully, don't exclude anything just to try to save money as it might not be worth it in the long run, and most of all, enjoy your holiday!